Chris Surbey (CAN) crossed an item off his bucket list last night, a win at the Spruce Meadows’ Masters Tournament in the ATCO Six Bar. But he was all apologies after the class.
“I have to apologize to my mom,” said Spruce Meadows resident rider.
“My mom came out earlier today to watch me in the other competition [the Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.60m]. She asked, ‘Should I stay for the Six Bar?’ and I said, ‘No, no. I’ll probably only jump a couple rounds. It won’t be that exciting.”
The 29-year-old went on to jump four rounds and clear 1.90m with Arezzo. It was enough to win the class.
“He is super brave. He just got better as we went,” said Surbey. “I tried to keep everything fairly consistent and I think he jumped it pretty easy…He has lots of power and scope, so the height was not a problem.”
It’s the first victory for Surbey on the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. He took over the ride from fellow Spruce Meadows rider Kelly Koss-Brix this past summer.
“As far as I know he has not done anything like this before,” continued the Calgary rider.
“Kelly rode the horse for most of the season and I just took him over in June. We have just been progressively building our partnership. He had some good competitions here at the Summer Series. Then he came with me on a European tour and stepped up to jump some grand prix competitions. He is starting to gain a lot more experience, which I think helped him tonight under the lights.”
While Surbey’s mom may have missed this particular career highlight, there was one female fan in the audience vociferously supporting her son.
“I heard some lady in the first round screaming every time a horse left the ground. I don’t know who that was,” laughed Surbey.
“It was amazing. We had a super crowd. They get a lot of people in the same area right along the fence line to watch, so it is very special. I definitely felt them cheering me on.”